I noticed Spots a few years ago, but didn’t know what to call them until quite recently. They are the “small, captionless illustrations that appear throughout the magazine,” and they follow a theme or tell a story.
Maybe you already knew that, or maybe you’re saying, “So that’s what they are!” But in case you’ve missed them, here’s an example that was posted on The New Yorker blog.
I don’t remember exactly when I noticed them, but I console myself with the discovery that the themes have only been around since 2005. For the first few years I was reading the magazine, the drawings were there, but they didn’t add up to anything. The New York Times announced their arrival and got a fun quote from Hendrik Hertzberg, who didn’t realize they had been changed.
They make me nostalgic for The Ear No One Reads in the Washington Post. Do you pay attention to them? Any favorites?